Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein posts first World Cup victory, wins super-G

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany - With her famous parents in attendance, Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein celebrated her first World Cup victory when she mastered a steep and fast course to win a super-G on Friday.

Weirather edged out Julia Mancuso of the United States and overall World Cup winner Tina Maze of Slovenia, who tied for second. Maze became the first skier to make 19 podiums in one season.

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Weirather is the daughter of Hanni Wenzel and Harti Weirather, who won 39 races between them — but never on the tough Kandahar course.

"They don't come to all the races but I am happy that they are here. They went through a lot for me. Now we can party a little," Weirather said.

Weirather was third out of the gate and went down in 1 minute, 19.82 seconds to beat Mancuso and Maze by .12 seconds. Anna Fenninger of Austria was fourth, .28 seconds back.

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was the top Canadian in 38th place. Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Saint-Sauveur, Que., was 39th and Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ont., was 41st.

Maze collected 80 points to move to 1,924 points overall, taking her closer to becoming the first skier to top 2,000. There are still eight more races and each win is worth 100 points.

"I have enough energy but it's a long season and to stay focused is the toughest part," said Maze, who won the super-G at the world championships last month in Schladming, Austria. "I haven't won a downhill this season, and that's my next goal."

Several racers were faster than Weirather in the early splits but she was the fastest in the steep bottom section.

Mancuso was one of those faster in the upper part but the American lost time at the bottom.

"There were some bumps and I didn't have my rhythm in the steep section, it's hard to be perfect all the way to the finish," said Mancuso, the bronze medallist at Schladming who won silver when the championships were held on the Garmisch course two years ago.

"I always want to win races but to tie for second is not a bad thing."

With Lindsey Vonn out injured, Mancuso is challenging Maze for the super-G title. Maze has 370 points and Mancuso 305.

"I want to gain points on Tina for the super-G, but I am glad I was second on the podium, even if it's sharing," Mancuso said.

There is a downhill slated for Saturday and another super-G on Sunday. Friday's race was a replacement for a super-G called off at Val d'Isere, France, in December because of bad weather.

Weirather said she "fought all the way" down the 2.29-kilometre (1.42-mile) course in sunny weather.

"The very lowest part was my best, there is a double gate where you have to take all the speed and I took all the risks," Weirather said.

The course may have gotten a little softer for the later starters, but Weirather said she didn't think going early had given her an advantage since several racers were faster in the top section.

"Mentally, I prefer to start early, then I don't get all the information that gets me confused," she said. Early starters usually radio slope conditions to teammates starting later.

Weirather said she was hoping for her breakthrough this season after overcoming a painful shin complaint.

"If you can't put pressure on your shins, you are not fast," she said.

For Hanni Wenzel, like all mothers, the most important thing was that her 23-year-old daughter had "come down healthy."

"She went through some tough times with her injuries," said Wenzel, a two-time Olympic champion who Austrian husband was a downhill world champion.

Wenzel, whose brother Andreas also was a successful skier, presented the winner's flowers to her daughter.

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